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The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen

Released 30 November 2016
Director Kelly Fremon Craig

Hailee Steinfeld, Hayley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgewick
Writer(s) Kelly Fremon Craig

Julie Ansell, James L. Brooks, Kelly Fremon Craig, Richard Sakai
Origin United States
Running Time 106 minutes
Genre Comedy Drama
Rating 15A

Teenage kicks.

What is it that makes actors want to be musicians and musicians want to be actors? The lure of that sought after moniker "Triple Threat" has led many thespians down a one end street of bad cover versions and earnest strumming. When Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar nominated for her break out role in True Grit, began to make vaguely raunchy pop videos I was worried that we'd lost one of the good ones to the lure of the MTV Awards. Well, I'm happy to report that her latest acting role shows that none of her goofy charm or comic timing has been diminished by her time in the studio.

The Edge of Seventeen is one of those beautifully unexpected delights; a coming of age comedy/drama that is genuinely touching, refreshingly brash and frequently laugh out loud funny. Steinfeld plays Nadine, a precocious but socially awkward teenager living in the shadow of her school-hunk older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). When a drunken hook up leads to a budding relationship between Darian and her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), Nadine feels herself unravelling and seeks solace from a sardonic teacher played by Woody Harrelson.

The story is hardly original, (Nadine's love life is a re-working of Pretty in Pink minus the class system concerns) but writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig's script is fresh and modern. As a heroine, Nadine is refreshingly messy – she drinks, sexts and makes terrible decisions about her personal life. Steinfeld is fantastic here; her comic timing a perfect match for Craig's script and her acting chops really put to the test in the more trying moments. The Edge of Seventeen is smart and satisfying, no matter what your age.

- Linda O'Brien